You know what is the best thing I love about blogging? Waking up in the morning to read comments from my readers.
Second favorite? Replying to those comments, even before I get off my bed.
I love talking about books and my feelings towards them to every person in my life. Unfortunately, that would mean chasing off many people who are not as interested in (read as obsessive about) books. So I do my next favorite thing. Write about them.
Writing is almost like talking, but it is fun only when you have someone to talk back to you, right? That is why receiving comments on my blog makes all the difference. I am sure it feels as good for you too.
I am pretty sure most of us write on our own spaces mainly to talk about things that we are passionate about, like books, writing or whatever that might be. And it would mean the world to everyone to get more comments on their posts.
Give and you shall receive! Leave thoughtful and friendly comments and receive them in return.
So here is how it goes:
Drop the link to your blog here if 1) You want people to visit your blog and leave thoughtful comments and 2) You will visit and leave thoughtful comments back on the blogs that commented on yours.
I will add your links for display to others on my blog for others to visit and leave their comment. You can also grab this button and spread the word among your peeps. And then you all can go ahead and become the best of friends forever.
Why are some people rude to people without thinking twice? Do they realize the effects of their actions on others’ lives? Do they know they are hurting, belittling and may even pushing the other person to the edge?
And most of importantly, would they change their behavior towards other people if they were given a Second Chance?
Disclaimer: Thanks to V Influencers for sending me the free copy of the Kindle edition in exchange of an honest review.
The story begins with Shekhar Kapoor, a business tycoon and the owner of Aerowalk Shoes receiving a strange telephone call from ‘the city of justice’ warning him to change his behavior and to be a better person. He ignores it presuming it was a prank call and continues to live his life.
Back to the plot, he receives two more warnings and when he disregards them, he meets with an accident and dies (!!). The book is called Second Chance for a reason, that is what he exactly gets but not without being a taught a lesson or two. Was it enough to change him? And if it was, does he change for good or worse? Read Second Chance to know more.
My initial thoughts
By far, Second Chance is my quickest read of 2017 and it took me an hour and a little more to finish it, thanks to the simple narrative style of Dr. Sandeep Jatwa. The book reminded me a lot of the movie Anniyan (Tamil) / Aparichat (Hindi), which explains a lot about the punishments one would receive in Hell, after your Judgment Day according to Hindu Mythology.
Things that didn’t work for me
Again the writing style irritated me to the core. The sheer number of grammatical errors and the literal translation of the Indian slang into English made me cringe. The characters were all one dimensional and flat, and none of them ever developed until the end.
Things that worked for me
Despite the above-mentioned problems I had with the book, the story had me sucked in.
Not that it was unpredictable but I just wanted to know how it turned out for Shekhar.
The moral lessons were spot on and the lesson about Karma was growing stronger, (some may consider this a spoiler) except that Shekhar ends the story saying “Why can’t we do the right thing in the wrong way?”. Erm.. so the Second Chance did not work? Or has it?
My thoughts in general
This is not part of my critical view of the writing or the characters as such, but I feel the need to say these things as an angry reader. I did not even mind the cardboard cut characters, but the portrayal of the female characters, even the flat ones. There are about five women in the story.
One is introduced as a airhead, who sleeps with someone and gets a promotion after being in the company for a week. Another employee who is ‘pretty’ but ditched by her fiancé when she becomes bald temporarily, due to a surgery.
The same female was enraged when she is passed on for a promotion that she very well deserves but gives up her career to take care of her fiancé’s bed ridden father. I mean ‘okay, it is her right and all’ but it bothers me how all the women had to be reduced being ‘pretty’ ‘docile’ and ‘beautiful’ repeatedly. There is more to us.
Maybe am just being overtly sensitive. (I AM NOT)
Bottom – line
Anyway, if you are up for a story that has a good balance between suspense and moral lessons, that has a simple narrative Second Chance should be your pick.
Let us chat
Have you read this one? Do you feel offended by such card board cut characters or you are okay as long as the story works? Let us talk.
What is the worst thing that could happen to you while traveling abroad? Dan Palmer and his group of tourists see them all when they travel across India. The story takes us through the beautiful country along the story line. Read Recycled love to join the journey with them.
Book Name: Recycled love
Author: George Henry
Genre: Fiction – Thriller;
Characters: Dan and Duncan Palmer, Charlene O’Neill, Shira and Cruella Jacobs, Dipak Kapoor,Tshering
Setting: India, Nepal
A group of multinational tourists takes a trip around Northern India and Nepal with a local tour operator named Loki. Dan Palmer, a middle-aged Canadian doctor quickly hits off with Karen, a popular author from Australia. He is also attracted to the sexy bombshell Shira and her fiery cousin Charlie who are traveling with their aunt Cruella.
In Mumbai Superintendent of Police, Mr. Kapoor is investigating the deaths of the Koepkes and suspects that the killer is traveling with the above-mentioned group. The plot intensifies when Kapoor falls for Dan, while he is interested in Charlie.
Dan realizes no one is what they seem to be and there is more than one person who is trying to kill. Is it someone from his dark past or is it someone from the group? Is he even the target or just a pawn in the much bigger picture?
A brilliant premise and tightly wound plot line make reading Recycled love a thrill ride. Dan Palmer’s character is quite the alpha male who attracts the attention of not only all the female characters but also the male ones. He is caring, broken and macho and a man fleeing for his life.
The other characters are also well written, though most of them were unlikable. Especially the lead Charlie who was annoying and I tried to feel sorry for Dan but failed. Maybe he did deserve it for trying to ‘date’ an emotionally disturbed young lady barely out of her teens. But then I should care enough for either of these characters, which I couldn’t.
I liked Karen, Duncan and a bit for Shira. I loved the repartee between Karen and Dan. The story behind Dan’s leaving Canada could have been stronger. The relationship Kapoor and Dan was quite a change from the usual gay love stories that we see in fiction, though it came out a tad too filmy for my liking.
The book could use a lot of editing and proofreading. There were several typographical errors, words missing and even issues with continuity. There were times when it became a little confusing as to whose voice we were reading. Out of nowhere Dan’s thoughts and Charlie’s thoughts get mixed up. And also, it becomes kinda frustrating to read ‘bang bang’ (to indicate the gun has been fired) after the first ten times.
I love trying new books and new authors, especially indie authors. So thanks to George Henry for letting me read his book in return for a review. If you want to read a fast paced action book, Recycled love could be your choice.
Thanks to the holidays and festivities we have all started realizing (read as dreading) the kinda havoc that the dysfunctional families would be unleashing this year.
8 bookish dysfunctional families from my favorite books
To get you through the myriad of unwanted questions (Any wedding bells yet? Baby in the making?) and the offensive comments (No, you can not say that word anymore) arm yourself with one of these books with the worst of dysfunctional families. At least they will make you feel better about yours.
What happens when you find your ‘favourite’ child’s body in the bottom of a lake? Meet the Lee’s, a quintessential Chinese American family from the 1970s. Jason Lee is a US-bred guy of Chinese descent who would give anything to fit in. He puts in his focus and efforts on making his daughter Lydia popular and has friends, like a normal American teenager.
Marlyn Lee, his wife, an American woman who wants her daughter to achieve things that she couldn’t. Their oldest Nathan and youngest Hannah suffer their invisibility in silence. The siblings are set to determine the cause of the death of Lydia. How this broken family grieves her death in isolation and guilt under one roof forms the rest of Everything I Never Told You.
7) A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
This real-life memoir of the author, talks about his childhood spent being abused by his mother. Dave as a child was beaten, starved and tortured by his emotionally unstable mother, who considered him a slave, even calling him ‘It’.
He pretended everything was fine at school coming up with excuses for his bruises and stealing food from his classmates. Having two brothers who got off easy and an alcoholic father who neglected the whole situation puts the Pelzer family on my dysfunctional family list. A Child Called “It” is no book for the weak hearted.
6) The God of small things by Arundhati Roy
Roy’s portrayal of the Ayemenem, Kerala in the 1970s left a nostalgic tinge when I first read years ago. But what stuck with me far deeper was their family. The main protagonists of the plot are Rahel and Estha fraternal twins who are parted by circumstances for years.
As kids, they had to live with their Uncle Chacko at their late grandfather’s family estate when her mother Ammu divorced their father. Ammu is a free spirit and was not someone who would follow the rules, even for her kids. While their childhood was far from peaceful, the twins had at least each other. But an incident changes everything in their lives and now Estha doesn’t speak anymore. The God of small things will work both as a compelling tale as well as a masterful social commentary. Read my review here.
5) The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
In about 50 pages Gillian Flynn makes the Burke family spooky enough to be listed on my most dysfunctional families list. Susan Burke requests our narrator to visit her house to heal their haunted house. Looking for some quick bucks she agrees, only to realize she has gotten involved in things far more than she bargained for.
She realizes Susan’s teenager son Miles is creepy and wile and her house has a darker and sinister past. And even Susan is not as dumb as the narrator assumed her out to be. Read The Grownup to know more about the unreliable Burkes and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Read my review here.
4) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
A blinded father, a mother who did not want to be one, a sister who feared everything and a 15 years old psychopath who killed nine people in a high school massacre – how is that for a dysfunctional family?
We Need to Talk About Kevin is written in the form of letters from Eva, a writer to her estranged husband Franklin, narrating the incidents of their lives until the day before the fated Thursday. Their son Kevin killed seven students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him two days before his sixteenth birthday. This international bestseller set in the 2000s definitely should be on your to be read list.
3) Mummy’s Little Angel by JW Lawson
Speaking of bad mothers, Joanna could not love her twins Annie and Maggie any more than she already does, and as any good children do, they both compete to become their Mummy’s Little Angel. The Stokes family have faced a lot worse in the past – Joanna is mobility impaired, her husband is shot and is labelled a paedophile, one of her twins is disfigured and suffers from amnesia due to a fire accident and the other twin is blamed for it all and is imprisoned.
The timing could not be any worse for her schizophrenic mother, who had abandoned her twenty years ago, to come back to their lives. What more could her daughters be hiding from her? Find out with Joanna by reading Mummy’s Little Angel. Read my review here.
2) Dark places by Gillian Flynn
7 years old Libby Day testified against 15 years old Ben, her brother in the case of the bloody massacre of her family. Their mother, Patty was shot in her head, both Patty and Debby had been slaughtered with an axe, and Michelle was strangled to death.
Libby herself has been affected mentally by the event and is on medicine to help her cope. Now after twenty-five years, she visits her ghosts and tries to remember the day of the horrific event and her equally dysfunctional family or whatever is remaining. Gillian Flynn is one of my favourite authors and this definitely is one of the most disturbing books I have read, by far. Read my review here.
1) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
As far as dysfunctional families go, the Lisbon’s can easily be the toppers. With all of their five daughters committing suicides could there be a worse dysfunctional family? The strict and devout Christian mother who never let the girls out of their sight did not let them date or even attend dances except for one.
Their submissive father who could not live any duller life in their all woman house did not help their case either. Once the youngest one Cecilia succeeded her attempt in committing the rest of the family came tumbling like a house of dominoes, while the entire neighbourhood watched. The Virgin Suicides is one of my favourite books to read not just for the plot but also its beautiful prose. Read my review here.
What are your favourite families with dysfunctional families? Let me know which fictional family would make me feel a lot better about mine. And more importantly, share your secret excuses to get away from the family dinners quickly *wink wink*.
My name is not uncommon in my part of the world and quite often I meet new people who share my name. What would you do if you stumble across a letter written to another person with your name? Would not that pique your curiosity? Would you consider that a coincidence or a divine interference? Follow Tina’s story in The Letter to find what she does when she faces such a situation.
Book Name: The Letter
Author: Kathryn Hughes
Genre: Fiction – Romance;
Characters: Tina and Rick Craig. William Lane, Billy Stirling and Chrissie Skinner
Setting: Manchester, The United Kingdom
The story begins with a young girl asking her grandmom about how she met her husband.
In the 1970s Tina Craig suffers through her abusive marriage with Rick, her violent and negligent husband. She has already once tried to get away from him but ended up being pregnant when he raped her. Against all the good judgments of her friends, she continues to stay with him.
Tina works at a charity shop where she comes across a letter in one of the coats that were given away. She realizes the letter was never unposted and the curiosity gets the better of her. She opens the letter the written by Billy to his girlfriend Chrissie in the 1940s.
Billy and Chrissie are young, star-crossed lovers from the pre-WW-II era. He writes a letter to Chrissie apologizing for his behaviour when she tells him that she was pregnant earlier that day and asks her to marry him. Tina’s heart flutters when she reads Billy’s letter and wonders what had happened to them and why the letter was never posted.
Intrigued by the coincidence that she got a letter written to another Christina, her full name, from an earlier period, Tina sets on a mission to find out the story behind the letter. She meets William who has set out from the USA, to find out his biological parents. How and where does their story unite? Did Tina get away from Rick? Read The Letter to know more.
The story alternates between the voices of Tina, Billy, and Chrissie quite smoothly. The writing is set in a heartwarming tone with a tinge of poignancy – the kind that would leave you feeling mushy even after you finish reading it. I found The Letter on the Amazon top charts a while ago.
I loved the first part of The Letter involving Tina and her abusive husband Rick, as I always do. But the parts that followed let me down badly, maybe it is due to the plot’s credibility itself, you know too many coincidences and the predictability of the so-called twists.
The Letter is a story of two women and men they chose to love, separated by three decades, connected by the power of written words. If you were a Nicholas Spark lover, you might love The Letter.
Have you read The Letter? If so, what do you think of the book? would you want to read it? Share your thoughts. As always I love talking about books with you in the comments.